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2 October 2010

See Rodin's The Burghers of Calais

One of six casts of the original monument to the Burghers of Calais in Calais itself, the statue standing in Victoria Tower Gardens, under the shadow of the Victoria Tower of the Houses of Parliament, was cast 1908.

It tells the story of a year-long siege of Calais in 1347, during the Hundred Years' War. When the city was no longer able to hold out against the English, they were parley for surrender, and Edward offered to spare the people of the city if six of its top leaders, the Burghers, would surrender themselves to him.

Six of the burghers stepped forward, including Eustace de St. Pierre, John Daire, James Wisant and Peter Wisant, and two others, in the manner that Edward had demanded, almost naked, wearing nooses around their necks, and carrying the keys to the city and castle.

It was only thanks to the pleas of Edward's pregnant Queen, Philippa, that their lives were spared and she removed their nooses, gave them fresh clothes and dinner, and handed them money before having them escorted out of the camp.

Rodin's 1889 sculpture remembers this, and under French law, twelve casts of the piece were permitted after Rodin’s death. The one which stands today in Victoria Gardens is one of them.

For more, see here or for the full story of the siege see here

1 comment:

  1. It's going to take a lifetime to find all these places, things and information